* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Whois? No, Whowas: Incoming Euro privacy rules torpedo domain registration system

Alister Silver badge

There's an awful lot of FUD being preached in the name of GDPR.

Article 6.1 states:

1. Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

(a) the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;

(b) processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

(c) processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;

(d) processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;

(e) processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;

(f) processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

As far as I can see both (c) and (e) are sufficient to allow for the publication of basic whois information.

Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

Alister Silver badge

A whole new meaning to the phrase "Hayesing"

Telegram settles lawsuit against ex-staffer who claimed FSB links

Alister Silver badge

Re: Another article written on speculation

I realise that Britain has always considered Russia its enemy...

I'm not sure that that is the case, and certainly not to the extent that America has taken it, both in the 50s, and now again in the present.

I completely agree with you that the article seems determined to cast doubt on Telegram's integrity, and surely, if any software written in Russia is to be considered a security risk, then exactly the same should be said of any software written in America.

I'm quite sure the NSA and other shadowy organisations are doing their best to subvert American software to their own ends, either with or without the agreement of the software companies.

Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

Alister Silver badge

Re: Mini - not really

Not in a datacentre, but a telephone exchange where an equipment room which was once full of 30 racks of strowger selectors was emptied out when the exchange became System X.

One of the TOs used to regularly park his Land Rover in there on nights to work on it.

You can yacht be serious: Larry might be planning his own version of America’s Cup

Alister Silver badge

Re: Left hand down a bit!

Whilst doing a quick google to explore nautical terms I could use to extend this plethora of puns, I was stopped in my tracks by the following definition:

- A signalman who prepares and flies flag hoists.

How very apt, I thought.

Larry Ellison, what a Bunting Tosser!

IT resellers, this is your future: Shifting driverless cars within 5 years

Alister Silver badge

Being autonomous doesn't magically remove a car's need for physical maintenance and repairs, so I would suggest that the traditional car dealers are better placed to continue to sell autonomous vehicles.

I'm not aware of many (any) IT resellers with a fully equipped workshop for car maintenance...

NHS: Remember those patient records we didn't deliver? Well, we found another 162,000

Alister Silver badge

Re: Help me understand this

In a private healthcare system, people provide a private company with all of their health information; arguably a lot more valuable and intrusive into one's life than many think. Yet, get absolutely mad upset about handing over a PIN to their phone.


Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

Alister Silver badge

Re: Now it can be told...

Once the USB attached peripherals took over from PS2 connections, it became trivially easy to connect more than one keyboard and mouse to a PC.

In an office of back to back cubicles, if done with some subtlety, this could provide hours of enjoyment, as the victim's keyboard and mouse apparently did random things.

Like the mouse ever so slowly drifting diagonally across the screen, or the keyboard sometimes adding random letters, but not necessarily the same ones.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Every day's a school day

I think I've posted before about one of our sales staff who went to do some in-house training for some of the software we produce.

She sat with one young lady who had a wireless mouse and keyboard, and consistently, over the duration of the training period, the client would grab her mouse upside down, and then try moving it, and clicking it, and then whinge about how "she's told IT about her mouse being broken loads of times, but they never fix it".

Our salesperson said she had to hold herself back from just snatching the mouse from the client and showing her how to use it, all through the training session. She said afterwards she was rehearsing in her mind the old question: "do you still have the box your PC came in?"

Judge says US govt has 'no right to rummage' through anti-Trump protest website logs

Alister Silver badge

Re: What puzzles me is why organisations like this (disruptj20) make such problems possible.

I can see no valid reason for a hosting service to retain data about inbound connections to a given site.

How about, for instance, traffic analysis, threat identification, forensic investigation?

'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

Alister Silver badge

I have bare arms quite a lot in summer.

Not so much now, though, it's too cold.

I think you meant bear.

Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION

Alister Silver badge

Yep, all you need is name, date and place of birth. No evidence of identification of the requestor is required.

Alister Silver badge

Re: What are your thoughts on...

The problem with GOV.UK Verify is that it outsources / delegates the verification process to third parties, including credit reference agencies...

So the security and verification it provides are just as vulnerable as it's weakest link.

Hello Experian, Verizon...

Alister Silver badge

Any answers to security questions – such as your mother's maiden name – given to Equifax during an account signup should now be considered compromised, the NCSC warned, and should be changed for other websites, if possible.

Mum? Hi, yes, listen, I need you to change your maiden name to something different...

Yeah, but look, it's not me, it's the government...

Well can't you forge your birth certificate, or something?

Ok, ok, forget I asked...

Sniffing substations will solve 'leccy car charging woes, reckons upstart

Alister Silver badge

Re: Access to the Open LV dataset...

Which bright spark started this? These puns are re volt ing, they are so bad it Hertz.

Alister Silver badge

Using an 11kW charger would take six hours to fully charge a Tesla Model S, ... from the 25 per cent full state.

So a 3.5kW charger is likely to take between 18 and 20 hours to charge an equivalent vehicle, therefore people will be much more likely to use a higher wattage device.

This means that the following:

The project concluded that across Britain 32 per cent of low voltage circuits (312,000) will require reinforcing when 40 per cent –70 per cent of customers have EVs based on 3.5kW chargers.”

...is a load of rubbish, and that actually the current electrical infrastructure is unlikely to support any serious uptake of electrical vehicles.

NASA readies its asteroid warning system for harmless flyby

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bit late ain't it?

It's a test!

In order for it to be a successful test, they need to already know the asteroid is there, to see if the warning system detects it.

Moon trumps Mars in new US space policy

Alister Silver badge

Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

Yeah, I blame the Russians.

Oh, sorry, wrong thread...

What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

Alister Silver badge

Re: What a delicious typo

NASA’s administrator Robert Lightfood

Well, he's on a diet.

Leicestershire teen admits attempting to hack director of the CIA

Alister Silver badge

So when's the extradition?

Blade Runner 2049: Back to the Future – the movies that showed us what's to come

Alister Silver badge

Re: Good 'ole Phil

I can't find any evidence to support your claim that Terminator was based on a Philip K Dick story?

I agree that the others were, however.

Alister Silver badge

Autonomous vehicles

You attribute the prediction of autonomous vehicles to I,Robot in 2004, but Johnny Cab was in Total Recall in 1990, and there were autonomous vehicles in Demolition Man in 1993 as well

Hipster disruptor? Never trust a well-groomed caveman with your clams

Alister Silver badge

Re: Beer o'clock at Wiley's Bar, anyone?

Some days, you just know you shouldn't have got out of bed.


Alister Silver badge

Very Adams'esque

Nice bit of social commentary Dabbsy, and definite glimpses of Douglas.

Royal Bank of Scotland customers say digital services gone TITSUP

Alister Silver badge

Hi Duncan,

We just need to re-employ some of the staff we laid off in May and August, and we should have everything working again.



US Senate stamps the gas pedal on law to flood America's streets with self-driving cars

Alister Silver badge

@bombastic bob,

I suppose that accident WOULD have been avoided by a human driver? And how many accidents are avoided by ROBOT drivers by comparison?

I think you misunderstood my point. In the Tesla incident the human involved appears to have had incorrect expectations of the level of autonomy the vehicle actually had, and was therefore not paying attention to the road. He was therefore unable to avoid the accident.

Had he been monitoring what the vehicle was doing, and moreover been looking out of the windows, then the chances are he could have avoided the accident.

The original point I was making is that none of the vehicles currently available are actually autonomous, and require that the human occupant monitors and manages the journey, and has to be ready to take over if the AI surrenders.

This doesn't match the hype, and if people buy the cars on the assumption that the vehicle will drive itself, then a lot more people are going to be killed because they are not expecting to have to dig the AI out of the shit.

Alister Silver badge

I think it is commendable, and surprisingly forward thinking for governments to introduce legislation regarding autonomous vehicles before they come into widespread use.

However, I question quite why governments, not just in the US but in Europe too, are pushing the adoption of autonomous vehicles so enthusiastically.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the presently available vehicles meet SAE level 4 or 5, which means they still rely on the human occupant to take control in certain circumstances, and are therefore not able to be classed as fully autonomous.

Unless this is made unequivocally clear to the general public, and prospective owners of these vehicles, I foresee a marked increase in the sort of accidents typified by the recent Tesla fatality.

Li-quid hot mag-ma: There's a Martian meteorite in your backyard. How'd it get there?

Alister Silver badge

is that a Martian meteorite in your pocket...

...or are you just having a hot flush?


What did you think I was going to say?

Oath-my-God: THREE! BILLION! Yahoo! accounts! hacked! in! 2013! – not! 'just!' 1bn!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Oath...

However, consider the other meaning...

a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one's future action or behaviour.

Yeah, they didn't stick to that, did they?

Physicists win Nobel Prize for spotting ripples in fabric of space-time

Alister Silver badge

Did I just see a velvet paisley-covered Chesterfield sofa go wafting across the garden?

If not, you may have missed the herd of Perfectly Normal Beast flattening your greenhouse...

Alister Silver badge

Eddies in the time-space continuum

Ah, is he?

"Er, who," said Arthur, "is Eddy, then, exactly, then?"

Computers4Christians miraculously appears on Ubuntu wiki

Alister Silver badge

Re: Sorry @Tweetiepooh

@ Richard Jones 1.

If you click on upvote it should cancel out your erroneous downvote.

UK lotto players quids in: Website knocked offline by DDoS attack

Alister Silver badge

It could be you

No, no it really couldn't.

Geoboffins claim to find oldest trace of life in rocks 4bn years old

Alister Silver badge

Re: More fake news

well dendrochronology is as good as independent evidence and can go back 12-13000 years

It's not as unreliable as human written evidence that may not have been using the same standards of accuracy we demand today...

Just to play devil's advocate here, dendrochronology cannot help with dates in the "billions of years" category that this article is talking about.

And actually, the science of dendrochronology is based very much on assumptions made by humans, so the standards of accuracy are not exemplary, by any means.

At the end of the day, dendrochronological evidence is not based on a primary source for dates older than 1000 years or so, and is merely extrapolated from more recent samples.

Tarmac for America's self-driving car future is being laid right now

Alister Silver badge

@AC RE: Speed Limits

No, you are quite correct, broadcasting the limit direct to autonomous cars doesn't help manual drivers, but I envisaged it as being added to existing signage, rather than outright replacing it.

However you raise an interesting point that whilst ever there is a mix of autonomous and manually driven cars on the road, there is more potential for conflict over speed limits.

If it's a given that autonomous cars will always stick to the mandated speed limits, it is equally a given that manually driven cars (in general) will not, let's be honest, very few human drivers obey temporary speed restrictions, and you will have the situation where autonomous cars will all slow down to match the temporary limit, and manually driven cars will not, creating the potential for far more accidents.

Alister Silver badge

Re: What's a "self-driving car license"

No it needs to use visual clues to determine things such as temporary speed restrictions (e.g. motorways).

On the contrary, I would expect temporary speed restrictions to be broadcast direct to the car's AI, not have to be picked up from signs designed for humans to read.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Insurance-Lobbyists:

On the other hand, I didn't see any mention of liability in the proposed laws, so have they not tackled the thorny problem of whose fault it is if an autonomous car is involved in an accident?

If the intention is that the car (and by extension the manufacturer) are at fault, then insurance companies access to "black-box" data from the vehicle at the time of the incident would be required, I would have thought.

Alister Silver badge

Re: What's a "self-driving car license"

things like setting a maximum speed, even if the vehicle can reliably spot speed-limit signs

Surely autonomous cars won't rely on visual cues or manually entered speed data, but will either have that data as part of the satnav feed or a built in database of all mandated limits.

US yanks staff from Cuban embassy over sonic death ray fears

Alister Silver badge

I'm also quite sceptical about these alleged attacks, primarily because I really can't see what the motive would be.

Cuba and America have only recently re-established diplomatic relations after decades of sanctions, and I don't understand why it would be of benefit to Cuba to piss of the Americans again.

EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

Alister Silver badge

Re: Simple solution

How the heck are you going to run a carriage from New York to London, especially if it's hurricane season?

Very carefully...

WTH is my domain? OpenSRS and Hover down and out

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Oops! There was a problem finding suggestions for you."

'cos it makes them feel cool, and down wiv der kids, man

BOFH: Come on, PFY, let's pick a Boss

Alister Silver badge

'A blend of fast-acting stupidity and sustained release incompetence'

I liked that, it made me larf.

And oh, the missed opportunities in " quicker than you can say murder/suicide," the PFY says."

I was hoping for a return of the killer robots...

Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

Alister Silver badge

Transmission Bus

Back in the early eighties, I worked on communications links for radio repeaters for public utilities and emergency services radios.

We had a rural repeater site on top of a hill, which had a microwave link to another repeater site on another hill about ten miles away. in between the two were a number of other ranges of hills, but all just low enough that line-of-sight was maintained.

This microwave link worked fine for a number of years, and then suddenly began to fail intermittently but always around the same time on a Thursday afternoon. It didn't happen every week, but say every two weeks.

After a lot of investigation, and a compete replacement of equipment at both ends, it was discovered that on one of the intervening hills was a small country lane which went over the brow of the hill more or less in line with the line-of-site link.

Off that lane was a sort of lay-by or turning circle, which was used by the local bus service to turn round at the end of one of their routes.

The buses would drop off at their last stop lower down the valley, and drive up and turn round, and then wait for half an hour before starting the next run.

Turns out that most of the time, they used a single decker bus on that route, but Thursdays were market day, so they used to put a double-decker on the route on that day. If it happened to park at a certain spot in the lay-by, it used to neatly break the line of site between the two repeater towers.

The only reason we found out about this was that we set up a temporary intermediate link (a van with a couple of dishes on it) in that lay-by whilst we were testing, and the bloke saw the bus come and park up whilst he was there, otherwise we could still have been looking!

The microwave antenna on both of the masts was at the very top of the mast, so couldn't be raised, but we managed to build an extension for the antenna on the other mast, and re-align the path just enough that it would be above the possible obstruction.

The UK isn't ditching Boeing defence kit any time soon

Alister Silver badge

Re: A curious note, thinking of the C17

Here, have another one...

Alister Silver badge

So, Gareth, are you suggesting that Bombardier should shut up and accept a 220% tax on their sales to the US, even though Boeing have no comparable aircraft to the C series, and therefore there is no valid conflict of interest?

Do you think that the British government should not protest such a blatant misuse of power?

Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Alister Silver badge

Re: Mars-like conditions?

@Rich 11

Nice one :)

I was actually thinking of this bit though:

A team will also test how to grow food under Martian conditions

which is bollocks unless you simulate the lesser gravity - plants will surely grow in a completely different manner in low gravity conditions.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Mars-like conditions?

And of course it's trivial to reduce the gravity by 62%, as otherwise you're not really replicating Mars-like conditions at all.

Playboy founder and dressing-gown wearer Hugh Hefner dead at 91

Alister Silver badge

Re: apparently...

... they had a hell of a time trying to get the coffin lid on.

Yeah, they really had to nail it hard.

Yahoo! search! results!, recommendations!, ad! flinging! code! is! now! open! source!

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up

Oath, the Verizon-owned parent of Yahoo!, has forsworn control of Yahoo!'s search code

Well played, that man!

NatWest customer services: We're aware of security glitch

Alister Silver badge

I think I wan't to withdraw!

Congratulations, that must be one of the most obscure greengrocer's apostrophes I've ever seen.

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